Police officers in Parlier are feeling forced to prove their value these days. That’s because the city is threatening to layoff some officers as a cost cutting measure.
It comes at a time when the crime rate is rising. In fact, Parlier just had its first murder of the year Wednesday night.
CBS47 rode along with Officer Richard Rubalcaba Thursday evening as he began his shift.
His first order of business was to try and serve an arrest warrant on a parolee.
“We went on a pursuit with him last week where he leg bailed from his vehicle,” said Officer Richard Rubalcaba of Parlier Police.
Officers searched an apartment unit where the known gang member is believed to be hanging out, but no one ever answered.
Conducting searches like this could become more difficult because the city council, which met Wednesday night, is considering laying off four officers. That amounts to about 30% of the department’s sworn staff.
“It’s just there’s no money. They want to make the cuts and it seems like that’s what their decision is going to be,” said Rubalcaba.
Rubalcaba says right now is a terrible time to be slashing public safety personnel.
“We’ve just seen an increase in gangs, drugs and violence,” said Rubalcaba.
Wednesday night, a family dispute ended in murder. Investigators say 69-year old Robert Lopez shot his nephew. It happened at Salandini Villa Apartments, a complex police constantly patrol.
“I’ve been here going on six years and there’s been five homicides that I’m familiar with. There’s always stolen vehicles out of there. We get a lot of gang fights, gang members live there. So the Salandinis is a pretty hot location,” said Rubalcaba.
Rubalcaba says saving the jobs of cops is going to take an open-minded approach by city leaders, some public support and a lot of faith.
“Fingers crossed and praying,” said Rubalcaba.
The city council is scheduled to vote March 20th on which cuts, if any, they will make to the police department.